Monday, March 2, 2009

Fear of Change

When I was studying psychology, there were so many things that fascinated me, especially the topic of FEAR. Generally speaking, we all have a long list of fears, some worse than others. One common one is CHANGE and it can really hold us back in life. People fear change to the point that they fear travel, moving houses, leaving unhappy jobs or relationships even when there's no more love left in them.

It's amazing how much "denial" can get in the way of seeing your situation clearly. I had a girlfriend who would call me up and the conversation was different versions of the same thing. It would go something like... (I'm J and we'll call her G for girlfriend ok)

J: hi babe, how's it going?
G: I can't stand him!
J: What's he done now?
G: He was talking to a girl on the phone. He said it was some guy at work. I heard a girl's voice...
J: Did you confront him?
G: No, I checked his phone to see if it was someone in the phone book.
J: And?
G: It was a girl I'd never heard of. Her name didn't even ring a bell
J: do you think something's going on?
G: Well, he promised he'd never do it again
J: do what?
G: cheat on me
J: what?? I didn't even know he's already cheated!
G: but he said he was really sorry. It was quitea long time ago and it won't happen again. I believed him
J: you wanted to believe him...
G: actually, Jo...
J: you're worrying me, what is it?
G: he's cheated on me twice
J: oh my God! and you said the most important quality you looked for in a man was loyalty
G: I know!
J: how did you even find out?
G: I went for a pap smear and it turns out I got an STD I could only have gotten from him
J: babe, I'm so sorry to hear this...I don't know what to say...
G: there's no cure for it
J: oh my God!! And he's still talking to women behind your back?
G: I think so
J: what are you going to do about it
G: I've broken up with him
J: but you break up with him every week babe.
G: but this time, it's for real. I'm sticking with my decision. It's for the best
J: of course it is. I'm glad you've made this decision

Well, here's the sad part. She kept breaking her own promises and taking him back. She was losing her self esteem and sense of self. Our conversations usually revolved around the same theme. She was desperately unhappy with her partner and she wanted to leave him. She would even decide before hanging up that she was going to break it off with him because she deserved better but she never did break up with him (the longest she lasted was a month once).

I told her it was just fear. She knew what she wanted but she was afraid to rock the boat and disconnect from him. She was clinging on to her past and it was so toxic for her. They were together for years and I feel she was afraid to be without him in her life. She was terrified of change. Change is what she wanted. It's all she spoke about because he made her feel so unattractive and worthless. She even dreamed about it yet remained stuck in this unhealthy relationship.

Not surprisingly, it came to an end because he cheated on her AGAIN and started going out with someone else. She experienced yet another painful round of hurt but more importantly, she felt relief. That's when she knew deep down, it was for the best (I was the friend on the sidelines picking up all the broken pieces because it took time for her to heal but I was hugely relieved she finally saw the light!) Once she was dumped, she started wondering why she didn't do it earlier because she was ready to leave him ages ago.

Like I was saying earlier, we all fear change to different degrees in different situations but if it's holding you back in life, the only way to push you past it or move you forward would involve CHANGE. Change can be a beautiful or really painful thing. Sometimes, it's as inevitable as growing old but when you fear it, face it. And when you think it's for the better, welcome it with open arms! (just like this shot on the beach :)


Anonymous said...

That was so cool that you studied psychology. you should start a blog for all of us to write in to you with our problems a Dear Jojo column :) Amanda

Jojo Struys said...

funny u should say that. I used to be a column writer for FHM "He says She says" It was a lot of fun :)

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